A Guide for Change








What if you could help students create change? And what if there was an established program and a guide to help you through the process step by step?

Each year, the California Alliance for Arts Education hosts a Student Voices Campaign (SVC) that empowers students to communicate their creativity and passion for the arts with their elected officials. Students take part in a video advocacy campaign that offers them a real-world 

opportunity to author content, communicate creatively and practice civic engagement. This year, hundreds of students in 7 California counties created 59 videos for submission to their local school board. Students submitted their vision for change ranging from the need for arts education and updated computers, to securing safe bathrooms for transgender youth. Take a look at some of last year's videos here.

California’s Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) guarantees students a voice in planning and budgeting for their school district. SVC provides a pathway for students to realize the role envisioned for them in LCFF community engagement guidelines.

To help facilitate this as a learning tool, we’ve worked with the California Arts Council to create a Student Voices Campaign Teacher’s Guide to teach the Student Voices Campaign as a classroom based project. Last year, teachers in middle and high school classrooms across California piloted the use of the guide. 
As a result, a record number of students took part in the 2016 Student Voices Campaign (link: ttp://www.studentvoicescampaign.org), generating persuasive two-minute videos that were sent to their respective local school boards, and impacting their district’s annual Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) planning process. The feedback were outstanding. 
“The most valuable aspect was getting the students to feel like what they had to say mattered. They need to feel empowered and hopeful in order to do well in life and that isn’t always so easy to teach. They loved knowing that students all over the state were also taking part in this endeavor.”  —Denise Tarr, Theatre Teacher, Southeast Middle School
“The students were very engaged and it made the lessons taught in writing argumentative essays come to life, and they could recognize pathos and logic as we watched PSAs. Having their work in class have a real world purpose inspired them and made what they did in school meaningful.” —Melanie Dubose,  East Los Angeles Performing Arts Magnet
With the SVC Teachers Guide, it’s easy to get your class involved in giving students a voice. Students who have participated have become aware of their role as advocates in school district planning, gained confidence in their ability to participate in community civics and gained critical communication and digital skills. Pilot teachers reported that the project inspired high levels of engagement, collaboration, and critical thinking.

What does the guide do?

  • Uses California Social Studies Standards and National Core Media Arts Standards to structure the process, outcomes and assessment; other Arts and Common Core Standards are also be referenced as appropriate.  

  • Uses project-based learning so students can actively explore real-world problems and teachers can scale classroom participation from periods of a few weeks to several months during the course of a school year 

  • Includes learning for students grades 7–12 in a variety of subject areas (History/Social Studies, English, Media Arts, Theater, CTE)

So, if you are a teacher who wants to:

  • Empower students to be creative, effective participants in the civic process by fostering digital empowerment, media arts literacy and an understanding of effective civic engagement
  • Create powerful evidence of the value of arts learning and student voices through student-authored videos
  • Realize the role for Students in LCFF planning process. 

Sign up to get the guide here. Questions? Email us


WATTCH: Brookhurst Junior High Students & their teacher share about participating!

About the California Alliance for Arts Education
Mission: To advocate for high quality arts education for all students by providing policy expertise and by mobilizing and empowering a statewide network of advocates. 
Vision: Every student, regardless of economic circumstances, should experience a quality arts education. The visual and performing arts have a unique ability to communicate the ideas and emotions of the human spirit and connect us to our history, heritage and culture. They foster creativity, critical thinking, and collaborative skills. Beyond the classroom, the arts engender humanity and citizenship, which contribute to the vitality of communities and enrichment of the larger world.